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20130115
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obama named former senator chuck hagel out of nebraska for his pick for secretary of defense. the announcement marking one of two potential controversial nominations by the president this afternoon. danielle leigh is in washington and has the latest. >> reporter: president obama officially launched a fight with his pick for secretary of defense, former nebraska senator, chuck hagel. >> willingness to speak his mind, even if it wasn't popular, even if it defied the conventional wisdom. that's exactly the spirit i want on my national security teen. >> reporter: the republican is known as an independent thinker. >> certainly a thorn in the side of political opponents of the president. >> reporter: now haigle is facing criticism from his former republican colleague norse criticizing you the war in iraq, opposing unilateral sanctions against iran and making comments seen by some as anti-israel. gay rights advocates are also critical. 14 years ago, hagel called the u.s. ambassador nominee openly aggressively game he has since apologized. >> dangerous to roll the dice on this issue
. >> reporter: but brennan's confirmation may not be as tough as chuck hagel's for secretary of defense. >> mr. president, i will always give you my most honest and most informed -- >> as a successful businessman, he also knows even as we make tough fiscal choices, we have to do so wisely. >> reporter: republicans and democrats are concerned hagel is soft on iran and too to have on our ally, israel. >> he's had a record of distinguished service, but he's profoundly wrong on a number of the most important national security issues that face our country today. >> reporter: hagel insists his views have been completely distorted. he's also under fire for criticizing a clinton nominee as "openly aggressively gay." >> it's dangerous to roll the dice on this issue. >> reporter: all questions lawmakers are eager to ask when confirmation hearings get underway. but hagel did get a high profile endorsement from former secretary of state general colin powell. powell says he's independent, bold and thinks outside the box. tracie potts, nbc news, washington. >>> thank you very much. still ahead at 11:00, the
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